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Trailing McCain turns to star power on homestretch

By Arun Kumar, IANS,

Washington : With opinion polls still giving an edge to Democrat Barack Obama, Republican rival John McCain deployed star power in the crucial state of Ohio as he claimed the tide was now turning in his favour.

On a bus tour of the midwestern state that has been crucial to Republican victories in the last two presidential elections, McCain Friday brought along California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who starred in many action movies before turning to politics.

At a noisy rally in Columbus, Ohio, Schwarzenegger said Obama’s four years as a senator from Illinois paled in comparison to the 5-1/2 years McCain spent in a Vietnam prisoner of war camp.

“John McCain has served his country longer in a POW camp than his opponent has served in the United States Senate,” Schwarzenegger said adding “Ladies and gentlemen, I only play an action hero in my movies. But John McCain is a real action hero.”

Even as the latest CNN national poll of polls put Obama seven points ahead at 50 per cent to McCain’s 43 per cent, with 7 percent undecided, the Democrat warned his supporters that things are going to get unpleasant fast and that the race will come down to every last vote.

McCain himself continued to hammer his opponent for exuding confidence in the final days of the campaign. He has been repeating a standard campaign line recently, saying Obama is “measuring the drapes” for the White House.

At another campaign rally at Hanoverton, Ohio, McCain expressed confidence that the tide was turning in his favour. “I want to tell you the enthusiasm and the momentum that I feel here in Ohio is going to carry us to victory here in Ohio and throughout this country.”

McCain’s campaign manager Rick Davis also told reporters Friday that the Republican nominee had momentum heading into the race’s closing days and surveys are irrelevant in the race’s homstretch.

“We fight back,” he said on a conference call, echoing McCain’s recent stump speech. “And we are witnessing, I believe, probably one of the greatest comebacks since John McCain won the primaries.”

Meanwhile, Obama told a crowd in Columbia, Missouri: “Don’t believe for a second this election is over. Don’t think for a minute that power concedes anything. It’s gonna get nasty, I’m sure, in the next four days.”

“They will throw everything at us like they’ve been doing, and we’re gonna have to work like our future depends on it in this last week. You know what? Because it does, and every single young person here tonight – I’ve gotta have every single one of you voting, and you’ve gotta grab five more, all of you, have gotta vote,” he said.

The warning came after the Illinois senator said in an interview Thursday night that his campaign was winning – some of the most confident language from Obama since he won the Democratic nomination.